Journal Article

Responses of <i>Acer saccharum</i> canopy trees and saplings to P, K and lime additions under high N deposition

Tomasz Gradowski and Sean C. Thomas

in Tree Physiology

Volume 28, issue 2, pages 173-185
Published in print February 2008 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online February 2008 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI:
Responses of Acer saccharum canopy trees and saplings to P, K and lime additions under high N deposition

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Heavy atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition has been associated with altered nutrient cycling, and even N saturation, in forest ecosystems previously thought to be N-limited. This observation has prompted application to such forests of non-N mineral nutrients as a mitigation measure. We examined leaf gas-exchange, leaf chemistry and leaf and shoot morphological responses of Acer saccharum Marsh. saplings and mature trees to experimental additions of non-nitrogenous mineral nutrients (dolomitic lime, phosphorus + potassium (P + K) and lime plus P + K) over 2 years in the Haliburton region of central Ontario, which receives some of the largest annual N inputs in North America. Nutrients were adsorbed in the mineral soil and taken up by A. saccharum trees within 1 year of fertilizer application; however, contrary to expectation, liming had no effect on soil P availability. Saplings and canopy trees showed significant responses to both P + K fertilization and liming, including increased foliar nutrient concentration, leaf size and shoot extension growth; however, no treatment effects on leaf gas-exchange parameters were detected. Increases in shoot extension preceded increases in diameter growth in saplings and canopy trees. Vector analysis of shoot extension growth and nutrient content was consistent with sufficiency of N but marked limitation of P, with co-limitation by calcium (Ca) in saplings and by Ca, Mg and K in canopy trees.

Keywords: canopy development; fertilization; liming; N saturation; photosynthesis; P limitation; resource allocation; sugar maple; vector analysis

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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